News: WINTER 2017/18

Hubs + gathering places

Despite the role of virtual connection, face-to-face is valued as much it ever was - probably more so. ZZA's work continues to explore the scope for productive interchange + social capital at the intersections of functions, spaces + different user groups.


Student space: researching building performance

Building on our rich repertoire of research in student spaces, ZZA is working on an evaluation of a new Student Union building. Located on the Frenchay campus of the large University of the West of England in Bristol (29,000 students), this key facility has now been open for two years. ZZA's research covers the range of ways the building is used, as well as its mosaic of functions + spaces. Exploring how the building is experienced + how it is to run, we are also researching the outcomes it generates, relative to the goals that underpinned the project's conception.

For comparison, ZZA's evaluation of the LSE's See Saw Hock student centre is described in the book on the Student Centre's realization, edited by Julian Robinson, LSE Director of Estates, and the Summary of the Full Report is viewable on LSE Estates' website.


Interdisciplinary teaching

A critical value of hub environments is their scope for users to mix perspectives. Interdisciplinary postgraduate courses are also hubs - programmatic ones, bringing together participants from a range of specialist backgrounds in time + space for fertile learning + exchange. The excellent Interdisciplinary Design for the Built Environment Master's at Cambridge University has now moved its home base to the university's Institute for Sustainability Leadership. Ziona Strelitz is sharing ZZA's distilled insights from ZZA's research + practice, lecturing on 'Learning from Building Users'.


Playing in the seams

The future is to be created! With ZZA's DNA in alert awareness + provision for cultural + social evolution, we are committed to continual mutual enrichment with colleagues from other fields. The days spent at the House of Beautiful Business during Web Summit in Lisbon, with a masterfully curated group spanning tech, business, academia, design, art, ethnography, literature, bioengineering, plus, plus, plus were wonderful + deeply instructive.


UWE's Student Union building, Frenchay, Bristol, © Architects, Stride Treglown (left, top + middle); generous coffee hub in reception area of the celebrated White Collar Factory, on which ZZA carried out a pre-evaluation from future users' perspectives, for developer, Derwent London (left, bottom) © ZZA; Buzzy entrance + workspace, Second Home Lisboa, (right, top + second) © ZZA; Inspiration at House of Beautiful Business (right, third + bottom) © joaonogueira.photography


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responsive user environments